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    Why The Best Facilities Management Teams Embrace Process

    Elizabeth Dukes

    The facility manager's roots have been firmly established professionally for decades, with its basic concepts and roles changing very little. With the evolving market what it is today, however, the FM's role is expanding at a rapid pace. Your management duties range from ensuring the workspace is properly maintained, to supplying the employees with the tools they need to be both productive and happy (and everything in between). With so much to oversee, it is critical that facility management teams adopt fully researched and mapped out processes that serve both themselves and the employees as individuals.

    It is with this knowledge that the British Institute for Facilities Management (BIFM) has formally adopted the definition of facilities management as "the integration of processes within an organization to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities”.  Process is, by definition then, at the very heart of facilities management.

    The Process Begins With You

    We must only take one look at the BIFM's One Day in FM to see that the implementation of structure and process begins with you as the facilities manager. You arrive early at work to a full email inbox of concerns and people who need something from you. After answering all emails, you spend the first half of your workday in meetings--you must meet with the head of HR about an upcoming influx of new employees and how best to fulfill their needs. You then head off to another meeting with the contractors regarding your service agreement. After lunch you're working out the spatial logistics of where each of the new employees will work, when the air conditioning breaks. The contractor is on his way, but you must determine a back-up plan as to where everyone will work should it not be a quick fix. Along the way, you check up on the reception area, heading off any potential issues before they arise. And by the time you get back to your desk, you have a full inbox again.

    So how do you get it all done? How do you meet everyone's needs on a daily basis and still find time to make sure the nuts and bolts of the organization are operating smoothly? Hopefully you have a solid team standing behind you, so you're able to delegate a portion of your responsibilities. But as their leader, they look to you to determine how to work productively. The most effective solution for you is to lead by example. And the most critical piece to your FM puzzle is process.

    "As an FM, you have to think about much more than satisfying your own needs - you should also use resources that cater to others."

    The first step to making any changes toward improving service delivery to others as well as giving you tools to enhance your specific needs is understanding your internal processes. For each functional area, a workflow should be created to define the origination of service or data and the fulfillment of the service or completion of the process. Even if it is bad – everyone has a process. Map it out – Below is an example of an organization that specifically mapped out their process and determined where in the process automation or software could improve the process.

    old-process

    On the flip side, there are plenty of examples of customers who become enamored with technology and can visualize how beneficial the software can be for their organization, but can’t get past go because they fail to analyze and understand their current business processes. They say “we want to see what the software can do” . The bottom line is no software can be effective if there is no manual process in place in which to automate. The same issue exists with data. If software cannot access accurate data then whatever automation is implemented is of little to no value because the output is not valid.

    new-process

    As the facilities manager, the entire company looks to you for guidance--to be their leader. Your job relies heavily on your involvement in every facet of the organization. The only way to keep so many moving parts relevant and productive, processes must be established. This leaves no room for question and keeps everyone on the same page regarding their day-to-day activities. Embrace the process and it will embrace you.

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    Elizabeth Dukes

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Elizabeth Dukes

    Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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